The Penguin Project prepares to put on the Newsies

Local News

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Penguin Project is seizing the day with their upcoming performance of Newsies.

“The Newsies is a musical based on the times of Pulitzer and Hurst. The Newspaper boys went on strike to get fair pay,” said Grant Carey who’s playing Jack Kelly in the production.

All the kids involved in the Penguin Project have developmental disabilities, and they are paired with mentors helping them along the way.

“The group is stoked to be back after a two-year-long break due to COVID-19,” Reagan Perry, one of the mentors, said, “We all have just, I think we appreciate it a lot more. We appreciate our friendships and the time that we just get to be able to be on stage with each other.”

Mentors like Perry find joy in participating with their partners.

Director and Co-Founder Andrew Morgan said that the project is a way for them to make connections, get involved, and step into the spotlight.

“This gives them that opportunity to get back together with old friends, renew those friendships, get back together again, have some fun, and it’s something very very special that’s part of what’s going on here,” said Morgan.

Some performers leave the stage with a message from the show.

“Even the strongest person can’t do everything by themselves, but with the help of their friends, they can do anything,” said Carey.

The cast will be performing on Jan. 14 through the 16, with each ticket costing $12 online at

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